‘Biscuit’ should stay in the Stampeder oven for another year

It is no secret that DeVone Claybrooks – known to friends and Twitter followers as “Biscuit” – is the leading candidate for the head coaching position in Montreal.

Prior to the Grey Cup , our own Justin Dunk reported that Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed had approached Claybrooks to begin discussions with the Stampeders defensive coordinator. Given recent developments, however, could Claybrooks be looking at a better situation just a little further West?

Wally Buono, the winningest CFL coach of all time, recently stepped down from the general manager post in B.C. as Ed Hervey took up the mantle. Buono stayed on as coach but says he will be relinquishing the post following next season meaning that Hervey will be on the lookout for a new coach at that time.

Taking a minute to compare the two potential opportunities it would seem that waiting another year could benefit Claybrooks.

Hervey, alongside Chris Jones, built a Grey Cup winning team in Edmonton. Hervey recruited, acquired or assembled much of the existing roster there including CFL MOP Mike Reilly and free agent to be backup James Franklin. Franklin appears to be the belle of the ball for this year’s free agency feeding frenzy and one has to believe that Hervey has an in with the QB from the University of Missouri after bringing him into the league in 2014.

Hervey was named GM of the Eskimos and in their first season led them to a record of 4-14 before turning the team around and going 36-18, including a 2015 Grey Cup win, over the next three years before being let go prior to the 2017 season.

By contrast, Reed became GM of the Alouettes this year, assembled the oldest roster in the league and finished with a 3-15 record.

Now, I know what you are thinking: “But surely you have to give Kavis the same opportunity to right the ship! After all, Hervey was just one win better in his first year!” You would be justified in thinking so too. I do offer one other piece of evidence though.

Kavis Reed’s teams lose.

With alarming regularity, Kavis Reed has been on teams that have finished the season below .500. In fact, only three teams that employed Reed have had a winning record over the last 17 seasons. The 2004 Ti-Cats (9-8-1), 2009 Roughriders (10-7-1), and 2011 Eskimos are the only teams that had some success with Reed on the payroll.

Meanwhile, teams Reed has been involved with have gone 103-183-2 since 2001.

This doesn’t even begin to address the problems with Montreal’s roster, old and growing older by the day. An owner that fires coaches at an alarming rate, the new bench boss will be the sixth different coach and seventh coaching change since 2013. Would stepping in here be the best place for Claybrooks to begin his career as a head coach?

The B.C. opportunity may look far more enticing to a coach brought up in the Hufnagel system. Until parting ways with Khalil Carter this offseason, not a single coach had been fired or let go in Calgary since 2007. Hufnagel preaches loyalty ahead of all else and Claybrooks has been brought up in that system. Hervey hired Jones and stayed the course through a rough first season and was rewarded for his patience with a Grey Cup championship.

Hervey committed to retaining Buono for a year despite the Lions not making the playoffs. Loyalty plays. The Lions roster features a young quarterback in Jonathon Jennings that some thought would have a chance at MOP coming into the season. It has the best international linebacker in the CFL in Solomon Elimimian, a player whose talents would fit nicely into Claybrooks scheme.

Stamps fans, of course, will hope that the lure of players, wins, and the familiarity of Calgary will be enough to keep Claybrooks in the fold. They have gotten used to seeing the gregarious coach patrolling the sidelines in his shorts, hat askew as he celebrates each two-and-out as though he was still in uniform. I’m sure the thought of delaying Claybrooks from taking a head coaching job and staying for another shot at Lord Grey’s coveted chalice would warm their hearts.

Claybrooks is under contract with the Stampeders through 2019 so no decision needs to be made yet. As the architect of the leagues stingiest defence, leading the league in both points against and sacks the last two seasons, it is his ticket to write. Any available coaching job search should see his name listed near the top, if not in the No. 1 slot. A player-friendly coach that produces as he has is a coveted asset in this league and he will be well paid by whoever eventually lands him for the top job.

Ryan Ballantine

Ryan Ballantine

Ryan is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.
Ryan Ballantine

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Ryan Ballantine
About Ryan Ballantine (26 Articles)
Ryan is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.

33 Comments on ‘Biscuit’ should stay in the Stampeder oven for another year

  1. This last year was not Reed’s fault. He was stuck with contracts written by Mr. Jim Popp. You have made some assumptions. Reed is on record stating he did not talk to Claybrooks. Claybrooks seems like a decent candidate, we look forward to our new coach. As a season ticket holder I appreciate the due diligence that Reed and the Alouette’s are taking. You think Mr. Claybrook is a shoe in, I don’t think so. We will see where the search goes.

    • BleedGreen // December 7, 2017 at 11:01 pm //

      Habs, your right, all those old guys were stuck in multi-year contracts except Doubles. That was a fair gamble, he s#$t the bed and will probably be cut. Al’s are better this year, need to secure a QB, hope it is Collaros not Manziel or Franklin. Love to see one of the two of them in Riders Green.

    • BigRedMachine // December 8, 2017 at 12:09 am //

      Contracts in the CFL are not guaranteed so no excuse for being stuck with Pop’s contracts. Reed’s mess is by his own doing.

      • blackgold56 // December 8, 2017 at 1:40 am //

        The large contracts have all kinds of bonus’ built into them. He was locked into a mess, respectfully disagree. He restructured and cut vets.

    • Reed brought in Ernest Jackson, Durant, Shologan, Olifioye, Willy, and Westerman while releasing Bear Woods and SJ Green.
      He made the team older and not better.
      As to Claybrooks, he interviewed officially last week.
      The search will continue, just one man’s opinion.
      Thanks for reading my first piece here!

      • blackgold56 // December 8, 2017 at 1:54 am //

        What about Mincy, Eugene Lewis, Pipken, Northup and Wright and a number of other young players. Hard to knock the effort of Cox, Hebert and Logan. Quite a list of older players, not many will be left by the time the season starts. That’s a lot of cap space.
        I agree, won’t be Claybrooks. The search will continue.
        Congrats on your first article

        • Marc Lebut // December 8, 2017 at 11:33 am //

          Mincy was hired by Popp. Pipkin was put on Alouettes’ neg’ list by Popp. Northrup is serious downgrade from Woods. Lewis and Wright are promising players brought by Reed and Mack.

          Cox, Logan and Hebert will have to win their spot next season. So will Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, Samuel Giguère, Simmons, Nik Lewis (if he’s offered this opportunity), Brandon Rutley, Knapton, Westerman, Shologan, Campbell, Carter, Greaves, Fulton, Matte, Vonk, Oramisionwu, Harris, Willy, Plesius, Pierzchalski, Sarao, and a big bunch of nobodies Reed and Mack brought in.

      • 3rd and 1 // December 8, 2017 at 5:48 am //

        Ryan is 100% correct in what he has written as well as his comments here after the article. I remember specifically an interview with Reed where he stated that he kept the vets that he did and added the new vets like Durant and Sholligan and Willy because he has assembled a team that’s ready to win right now. The 2017 ALS was a Kavis Reed mess and no one else. He could have easily cleaned house and started a new team. None of the CFL players contracts were set in stone.
        His release of Bear. His trade of SJ Green and his contract of a $200k signing bonus and $400k a year for 3 years for Durant showed Kavis had no idea what he was doing. He was living on the Lorals of successful CFL teams long past.
        I’ve said it a dozen times and it states it again in this article. How can someone like Kavis Reed continue to fail forward. Time after time he gets promotions after a failed venture in a previous position.
        When he fired HC Chapdelain and DC Noel Thorpe. Right then and there he showed he was off his rocker.
        I feel for the ALS fans. As a brutal 2017 CFL year. To be continued with a 2018 season that will truly be a mess. I’m sorry but the whisper voice of Kavis using words he looked up in the dictionary isn’t going to cut it. If he dosent out right release Durant and find a young franchise QB replacement. It will prove once again the Kavis Reed has no business being a GM. Little loan the GM of a team that needs desperate help.

      • True green // December 8, 2017 at 9:18 pm //

        First time I’ve ever seen a writer respond to a comment on here. Nice to see. It would be great to have the writers more engaged. Especially since some drop a crap headline or poor info then don’t admit it or explain it.

        Hope to see more of your articles.

    • Marc Lebut // December 8, 2017 at 11:12 am //

      Can’t agree that Reed was stuck with anything he didnt know. He was on the coaching staff since 2015 and assistant HC for 2016. He knew all the roster issues before granting his Buddy Darian a 400K$/year contract.

      It was Reed’s vision (hallucination?) to ABSOUTELY put 2 INT OTs which led him to go with to NAT DTs. He could have gone with one INT RT (Olafyoye) and either keep Perrett, promote Ryan White or move Jake Ruby on the left side. This led to hire Shologan, Westerman and Oramisionwu, having Klassen in that group. Now, it was Reed’s decision not to retain a real OL coach once Kris Sweet wasn’t extended, not to hire a real DL coach once Anwar Stewart slammed the door, leaving this team’s trenches undercoached. It was Reed’s decision not to keep Marc-Olivier Brouillette, S.J Green, Alan-Michael Cash, Jake Piotrowski, Jeffrey Finlay, Martese Jackson, Michael Klassen, Jovon Johnson, Rakeem Cato (who couldn’t have done worse than Durant or Willy), Vernon Adams (who couldn’t have done worse than Durant or Willy), and above all Bear Woods (who wasn’t fired for football matters as it turned out later, despite what Reed said and nobody bought) over his HC’s will. Reed spoiled his D and is depth with his “plan”, and when his “plan” went South, he fired the only 2 guys that knew how to manage a team just to save his own butt. Adn when he lost player on the field, he and his buddy Sleep Joe Mack couldn’t find guys to fill in, except Brandon Stewart. As a comparision, Esks have ben doomed with injurie and Sunderland did fill with guys who sort of kept his team competitive. Rookie GM for rookie GM, Sunderland had solutions while Reed and Mack had none.

      In the end, this disaster IS Reed’s disaster, as he threw the baby with the bath’s water. The only way I would renew my season tiket is having Reed moved away from the GM position, Mak moved away from the scouting, let the new GM hire his HC and Scouting Director, and have the HC hire his assistants. It’s the only way to stop this dysfunctional circus.

      Just saying, looking how Reed delt with guys like Cato, Adams, Green, Woods, Chapdelaine, Thorpe, how easy will it be for him to hire good players and coaches? He built a 3-15 team. Watch him build a 1-17 team for 2018.

  2. BleedGreen // December 7, 2017 at 10:49 pm //

    I don’t know how stable the BC situation is either. Clearly, you are not a Reed fan, neither team has a QB and need to be reworked. Can’t wait until Hervey wants to break the bank to resign Arceneaux for Bowman money and Wally and Braley stroke out. Claybrooks should stay where he is, learning from Huff and DD. I agree with Habs, the oldest team in the league is not Reed’s fault, it is Popp’s fault who rode to yet another GC on the coat tails of Trestman. Good luck Biscuit.

  3. You have a lot of faith in Hervey, that was a brutal exit in Edmonton. They FIRED him because he doesn’t play well in the sandbox. He was impossible with the media and let the power go to his head. The league found him impossible to deal with. The Board of Directors for the Esks didn’t have the same faith in him.

    • Agree completely. However, sometimes hard lessons need to be learned. Did he learn from it? Guess we will find out….

    • dangnabbit // December 8, 2017 at 12:29 am //

      I liked Hervey in Edmonton, and I say that as a Calgary fan. He definitely sees the football side of things as more important than the public-relations side. The Eskimos have a reputation as a football powerhouse – Hervey prioritised making sure the team could live up to that reputation above schmoozing the media or the commissioner. On the other hand you have GMs like Popp, who preferred going after NFL washouts like Troy Smith, Michael Sam, Chad Ochocinco, Tim Tebow, etc., not because they would improve the football team but to attract media attention. That sort of GM plays nice with others but of the two, I’d pick Hervey.

    • BigRedMachine // December 8, 2017 at 12:43 am //

      Wasn’t a big fan of Hervey when he called out Rottier in the media. He hasn’t done anything like that again so hopefully he has learned from his mistake.

    • Who said he doesnt??? 1 person the President who also blamed winning for decrease in ticket sales???? Hahaha…market value was more than the pres of EE made so he needed an alibi…dont spread lies!

      • BleedsGreen // December 8, 2017 at 8:05 am //

        Jones was the reason the Esks won the cup not Hervey. He was left with great bones there when Hervey manipulated Tillman’s demise. Paul Jones, one of the best scouts in the business is responsible for the majority of the talent. Reading all the crap about Hervey’s scouting network is a joke. Can’t wait to see how he treats Geroy when he gets more media and fan attention. Neil Mcavoy has worked hard for years and been a loyal employee who deserved better than what Wally will leave him with.

        • Marc Lebut // December 8, 2017 at 11:18 am //

          Yeah, it puzzled me that McEvoy wasn’t promoted. I had the same reaction when Wally gave th HC job to Benevides instead of Chapdelaine. In the end, I understand that maybe there was a good reason for that. So maybe there is something there wth McEvoy too.

  4. blackgold56 // December 7, 2017 at 11:10 pm //

    Claybrooks doesn’t seem to be ready for a Head Coaching position, he lacks the maturity. I can’t see Montreal ownership buying in to the shorts and hat on sideways. He has the D engaged and has great interaction with players and does a lot of things right. The NFL would never let someone dress like O’Shea and Claybrooks in a HC position.

    • ehhh the nfl pats dont seem to care much what , Mr CHeater MCcheaty Belocheck wears , lol .

    • DiehardFan // December 8, 2017 at 12:20 am //

      So when did they wroite the rule you can’t wear shorts and be a head coach? As long as you’re in the official sideline apparel for a shirt/hoodie/jacket you’re golden. Dockers khakis/Levi’s denim are not mandatory, and it beats the full moon. The way you make it sound you need to be Tom Landry with a 3pc and fedora patrolling the sidelines.

      • DiehardFan // December 8, 2017 at 12:20 am //

        *Write

      • blackgold56 // December 8, 2017 at 2:05 am //

        Actually, the HC will decide what colour the dockers/khakis are, may have been Stubler (think he was channeling his inner Belochek) that got into trouble for altering his sideline gear. I am old school, you dress appropriately on game day. I see it as a sign of respect to the team and league.

        • DiehardFan // December 8, 2017 at 7:23 pm //

          But who are you to say what’s appropriate? Like I said this ain’t the days of Landry and Bear Bryant. I’m not talking Nike sweatshorts or nylon style, there are “dressy” shorts that look very professional

  5. BC could be looking at Washington as the next HC. He could pick outside too like Claybrooks both D coordinators. Worked well last time he hired a DC. If he stays in house then it’s likely Washington. Maybe taking a HC job now is a better option and a lot more in pay I’m sure. If he goes to Montreal he may have stipulations on who his QB should be, players he may want and also be the DC as well. He knows how a good organization is run. Not like if it did turn out bad he wouldn’t be snatched up as a DC right away again.

  6. The Als didn’t just lose they lost by a combined 39-13 in the second half of the season. Off course without noel Thorpe. That might be the all time worse second half in CFL history. Getting rid of Bear Woods made nonsense at all. Someone once said “God please forgive him he doesn’t know what he’s doing”

  7. Good article Ryan, looking forward to more.

  8. Brad Carpenter // December 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm //

    Excellent article. Hope to read more from you.

  9. Kahlil Carter // December 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm //

    I believe at least one other coach, Chris Sweeter, was not retained by the Stamps. Most of this article is not factual but good read anyhow.

  10. As a Lions fan, I was at first a bit frustrated with Hervey as BC GM for some of the reasons stated above. He was seemingly not fan friendly, not media friendly and not TSN friendly and I’m not sure he’s learned the lesson there. He’s just one of those guys who always has a chip on his shoulder

    He blames some of that on his HC which is a bit gutless as he’s the boss of the HC.

    What also raises eyebrows is that Hervey is saying he only took the job with Wally as his HC leaving the most bizarre reporting relationship ever as Wally is his boss and will be the primary link to the owner.

    When Wally was GM and HC and Bobby Ackles the President, the Wally had a similar direct line to the owner and Ackles wasn’t really Wally’s boss. Now Wally has the same deal with his GM.

    I’m of the mind that Hervey can do the talent scouting nicely and one of the first things that he should have been tasked to do is get a new HC and coaching staff.

  11. Edward Leslie // December 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm //

    Claybrooks shouldn’t go to Montreal OR B.C., he should stay in Calgary. Hufnagel’s getting up there in years and will likely step aside in favour of Dickenson in 2-3 years. That would open up the Stamps H.C. spot.
    As Montreal, Lewis and Brouilette have already given notice that they plan to retire. I can’t see Chip Cox, Sam Giguerre, Brian Simmons or Drew Willy returning And Darian Durant is gone for sure.
    Bowman will stay if he wants. Both Stefan Logan and Kyries Hebert are fan favourites and had great years. They should stay.

  12. Edward Leslie // December 10, 2017 at 11:38 pm //

    I should say Broderick-Jourdan has indicated he’s retiring, not Brouilette.
    It should be easy for Reed to drop Giguerre and Willy at least. Reed practically had a purge of white folks in 2017:
    Noel Thorpe, Jacques Chapdelaine, Bear Woods, Marco Brouilette, Jeff Perrett, Michael Klassen, Jeff Finley, Anthony Fera, Jonathan Crompton, Kyle Graves, James Tuck and Jacob Ruby.
    Whew! Just about done, Kavis??

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